Date: Friday, 23rd February 2024
Time: 9.30am – 4.00pm
CPD: 6 CPD Hours
Method of Delivery: Online
About the Course
This advanced FOI seminar provides an in-depth view into the main aspects of the 2014 legislation and how it applies to public bodies and their records. As well as sharing the valuable experience of a FOI practitioner and the legal expertise of a barrister, it includes case studies so that participants will see how to apply the FOI Act to sample FOI requests.
The seminar equips FOI Decision Makers and Internal Reviewers with the skills, knowledge and competencies needed to take a pragmatic approach and focus on practical FOI tasks using the relevant law and guidelines. Participants get the opportunity to share their own experiences and get a valuable insight into issues highlighted by an expert in the field, as well as an understanding of best practice. Sessions incorporate time for Q&A.
Legislations and Practices
FOI legislation and practices evolve over time, and for FOI Decision Makers it is paramount that they stay updated with any changes. Engaging in continuous learning and professional development ensures FOI Decision Makers to stay abreast of developments in the field, enhance their skills, and maintain their competence and confidence in making informed decisions.
While a strong knowledge of FOI legislation is key it is important to note that FOI Decision Makers should also possess other key skills, such as the ability to exercise sound judgement & critical thinking, effective decision-making processes, and excellent organisational and time management skills. These competencies collectively contribute to an FOI Decision Makers effectiveness in the role and their ability to handle the complexities of FOI requests.
Critical Thinking: crucial for making informed decisions on disclosure, especially when dealing with complex sensitive information.
Legal Knowledge: FOI Decision Makers need a comprehensive grasp of the legal framework to interpret and apply the law accurately. They need to be aware of any changes or updates in legislation and to understand how these changes impact their decision-making.
Interpretation of Public interest: They must possess the ability to evaluate & balance competing public interest considerations. They need to assess whether disclosing certain information serves the public interest, taking into account factors such as transparency, accountability, the right to know, and the potential impact on individuals or organisations.
Analytical Skills: FOI Decision Makers need strong analytical skills to assess the applicability of exemptions and exceptions to requested information. They must carefully review the content, context, and potential consequences of disclosure, weighing factors such as privacy, national security, commercial interests, and public interest considerations.
Risk Assessment: FOI Decision Makers should be adept at conducting risk assessments when evaluating disclosure. They must identify and evaluate potential risks associated with releasing sensitive information, such as compromising national security, violating privacy rights, or harming ongoing investigations or legal proceedings.
Effective Communication: FOI Decision Makers need excellent communication skills to clearly convey their decisions and rationale to requesters, colleagues, and relevant stakeholders. They should be able to articulate complex legal concepts and reasoning in a manner that is understandable and transparent.
Ethical Awareness: FOI Decision Makers should have a strong ethical compass and a commitment to upholding the principles of openness, fairness, and integrity in their decision-making process. They must navigate any potential conflicts of interest and ensure decisions are made impartially and in compliance with legal and ethical standards.